20 April 2009
The next GM of the Avs already has to deal with a salary cap and roster situation that is beyond challenging. While I feel there is still some talent there, and with the right moves the franchise can turn around fairly quickly, that payoff better come quickly. This season the avs have loads of payload, and an economic catastrophe that is going to make other GMs more skiddish about taking on salary than TJ Hensick on the forecheck. The Goalie free agents are slim, which means the new GM has to trade for a quality goaltender, which may be the most difficult GM task there is since Mike Keenan isn't GMing anymore. Other than unloading salary and getting a starting goalie, the Avs need to try and attract some top-notch forwards.
But a bare, expensive cupboard isn't the reason the Avs GM job may not be desirable. What might really make it less than desirable is working for Pierre Lacroix. Coach Quenneville was let go after a season in which he took the Avs to the second round of the playoffs. Many fans (including this one) thought it was the right move, and I still feel the move was the right move. But his non-rehiring and the way in which Granato was hired has cast an awful shadow on the franchise. It looks like Quenneville was only there to keep the seat warm for Tony Granato (Lacroix's original hire), and when Granato gets the job without interviewing any other candidates it looks as if Pierre Lacroix had dictated a coaching strategy that Francois Giguere dutifully executed.
Then, when things got bad last season, Pierre Lacroix
... didn't just throw Giguere under the bus, he backed the bus back over Giguere after he had run over him once.As Terry Frei puts it. Lacroix's handling of the situation may be so toxic that Francois Giguere never gets another opportunity at the GM's role. While he certainly made some mistakes, his tenure in Denver wasn't so epically bad that it should be a career killer.
And there is still suspicion (highlighted by the non-firing of still-coach Tony Granato) that the next General Manager will be under enormous pressure to retain Granato to
I can not think of a worse position to be in than one in which my boss used to do my job very successfully, would rather be doing my job than his, and uses his power to subtly focus the blame of failure on me and away from him, while taking the credit when it is due. In fact that kind of position is a recipe for failure. Whether in engineering, business, fast food, or hockey having a boss who would rather be doing what his subordinates are doing is a setup to fail. The superior meddles with his subordinates plans instead of trusting them to execute, which has a three-fold negetive effect. It saps moral and enduces bitterness, it makes employees second guess solid decisions, and it causes decisions to be made on political purposes instead of solid judgement and analysis.
Why would a bright and talented potential general manager want to even consider that kind of toxic position? The only people who would want a position like that are former hockey management people desperate to break back into the field (Hello Jay Feaster, Pierre McGuire), guys already within the organization who are accustomed to dealing with this kind of corporate (Goulet, Billington) or crazy guys who would be so happy at the chance to run a professional hockey team that they wouldn't care about anything else (Jibblescribbits, Oren Koules). (That's right, I'm throwing my name into consideration for Avs GM. I can't wait for my interview)
If the Avs want to attract the brightest hockey minds they need to show that they are an organization that promotes creativity and allows their employees to do their work without interference.
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